The best strategy to improve school safety is to be familiar with lockdown procedures. Events like the Columbine and the Sandy Hook shooting have taught us that, unfortunately, school shootings are becoming more common as the years go on. Understanding the right procedures and security measures can make a difference between life and death for your staff and students.
An emergency lockdown happens when there is danger, and faculty and staff need to ensure the safety of their students by acting quickly and efficiently. It’s crucial that all staff members be trained and educated on how to handle emergencies in dangerous situations.
Why Should Schools be Better Prepared?
In the last couple of years alone, the United States has seen an uptick in the purchasing of guns and mass shootings. The gun violence archive has counted over 300 mass shootings this year, painting a scary picture for the months to come. To help create more situational awareness, schools should take extra precautions if an emergency ever arrives at the school’s doorstep. These include extra security measures like lockdown doors, knowing how to spot a potential threat, and adding additional lockdown procedures.
There are multiple different events to be prepared for. The types of emergencies that require extra lockdown procedures include:
- Active shooter or mass shooting
- Hostage holding
- Protests and riots
- Natural disasters
Now that you know what kind of events require extra precaution, here are a few tips to consider to better prepare you for an emergency.
Know the Layout of your School
While this seems self-explanatory, you would be surprised at how many faculty members do not know the full layout and available exits in their school. Teachers and staff should be aware of all classrooms, room numbers, hallways, and exits within the school. Knowing this information will be crucial to making decisions and communicating during a hostile situation.
Plan How to Barricade your Classroom
Assess the environment of your classroom and plan how you would barricade and lock the doors. Arrange furniture, your desk, and the students seating in strategic ways in the room. Planning how to handle a true lockdown beforehand will ensure better protection and preparation for your students while in the classroom.
Utilize Alternative Evacuation
In the instance that there is an active shooter in the hallways, or the doors are barricaded, understand how to utilize the windows for evacuation purposes. This depends on whether it is safe enough to climb out the windows in an emergency. Practice opening the windows in your classroom so that you are prepared if you ever need to use them as an evacuation tactic. If your classroom windows do not open, you may have to break the window if necessary.
What to do if a Lockdown is Issued
Utilizing the above tips could help make an attack harder when you are better prepared for it. Each school may have a different set of lockdown procedures to know. However, below are the most common lockdown procedures all faculty, staff, and students should abide by.
- Lock the doors and windows
- Turn off the lights and close the blinds
- Instruct the students to stay quiet and away from any doors and windows
- Silence all technology like computers and phones
- Count every student in the room
- Wait until further instruction
General Sequence of Events during a Lockdown
Each lockdown is unique based on the circumstance. However, a lockdown is typically the same sequence of events, meaning it’s more than possible to prepare as best you can for any situation. The first thing that will happen is the sounding of an alarm. An alarm is set off to immediately notify the staff of an intruder or a natural disaster. This is the first step in the lockdown procedure, and upon hearing this signal, faculty and staff should prepare accordingly.
The second step is to commence the lockdown procedures for the specific disaster. This is where teachers lock the doors to their classrooms and get the students away from the doors and windows. Someone will call 911, where the police should arrive, and implement further instructions on how to proceed. During the lockdown, teachers should maintain a secure classroom. Teachers should keep the students in a safe area away from the doors and windows, and should not open them under any circumstance unless told to do so. Teachers should also take a head count of their students, and if any are missing, notify someone immediately.
After the event has passed means it is the end of the lockdown and is safe for teachers and students to come out of their classrooms. The school principal should also notify the parents of the students if the parents do not already know.
Teachers should constantly be prepared for a lockdown, and practice these drills with their students. The more everyone is prepared, the safer the environment is in case of a tragedy.
2020 saw an increase in gun purchases. Subsequently, the number of shooting incidents rose by sixty-four percent. Recent data findings show at least fifty casualties from gun shootings this year alone.
School shooting incidents in the United States are increasing exponentially, as witnessed by increased casualties and deaths from these incidents. School shootings are not new, as the earliest recorded incident was in Pontiac’s rebellion that resulted in the death of the headmaster and nine students on July 26, 1764. To date, over two thousand school shooting incidents have left over 2620 students scarred or victims of mass shootings. However, there are several ways of decreasing these incidences or curtailing their impact. This can be achieved through security enhanced doors, motion detectors, and implementing lockdown features in schools to deter intruders from causing more damage.
Increased School Shootings in the United States
As of 2017, firearms overtook death by road accidents to be the leading cause of death by persons of age twenty-four and below. The trend is worrying, considering that most of these shootings are orchestrated by students affiliated with these schools. However, more has to be said about the poor storage of these firearms, enabling easy access by school-going children. In 2021 there were a total of 249 school shootings reported in the United States. Of these, at least twenty seven students were killed by firearms. These estimates pale in comparison to the annual deaths caused by gunshots. 2022 has seen an upsurge in incidences involving gunshots to levels only witnessed in the pre-COVID era. This can be attributable to an increase in individual gun purchases. According to research, in 2020 alone, Americans had an estimated purchase of at least twenty-two million guns. This was increased by forty percent when compared to 2019. 2022 has been no better, with at least 50 incidences recorded as of June 2022. The increase in school shootings is worrying; the 2020-2021 school calendar witnessed over ninety school shootings. This was an exponential increase compared to 2019, when only 23 reported cases were reported. Out of these, forty-three incidences ended up with at least an individual being reported to have died, while the remaining fifty incidences only recorded injuries. This calls for more stringent measures to improve the safety of kids in schools. Some of these incidences can be attributed to the deteriorating relationship between teachers and students.
Mass Shootings and Active Shooters
Recent years have seen a spike in the number of mass shootings. This year has experienced at least three hundred mass shooting incidences. This is an increase from their average since data started to be considered. The Washington post noted that on average, since 2014, the number of mass shootings topped at a round four hundred, but 2020 saw the number rise to six hundred and eleven incidences, whereas 2021 saw the number rise again to seven hundred. Based on the current trend, this figure will more than quadruple by the end of the year.
2021 saw an increase of fifty percent of active shooter incidences from 2020, an increase that averages at around 96% increase when compared to its four-year average. The FBI has documented at least 61 shootings in 30 states that resulted in the deaths of at least one hundred individuals and injured another one hundred persons. Active shooting is an incidence where an armed individual or individuals are actively killing or trying to kill people in highly populated areas. Of these incidences, sixty were carried out by male individuals, with only one female reported incidence. This calls for an update in the security measures taken to prevent such incidences, as some could result from homeopathy and lockdown related issues. This may be coupled by the high financial distress experienced during the curfew, as not everyone can cope with such situations easily. However, this has also led to some impressive innovations that can be used to curtail the impact of these incidences. More so, the government can implement more effective pieces of legislation to prevent such incidences.
Some of the effective methods include:
Increasing Armed Personnel
Increasing the number of armed personnel can effectively reduce the time it takes for police officers to respond to an incident. This may reduce the pressure on the available persons and help increase the number of patrols conducted by police officers. They can also be equipped with better tools to handle live fire effectively.
It is easy to procure a firearm by individuals, both ex-convicts, and other individuals. States can implement strict laws preventing anyone from acquiring firearms, especially individuals with a history of violence. In addition, people allowed to use firearms should undergo proper training to reduce the number of accidental shootings.
Access To Mental Health Services
Suicide ranked among the major causes of death related to gun shootings. These can be attributed to mental health issues such as traumatic episodes related to past shooting incidences, traumatic experiences, and increased stress levels. Accessing mental health services to deal with these increases can help drastically lower such occurrences.
School Shooting Lockdowns
In as much as schools are safe, most are not intrusion free; they suffer a level of permeability that allows outsiders to access the school grounds, offices, and even classes. Lockdown drills are an effective way to teach students what to do in case of an attack. But putting real protective measures can effectively deter intruders from causing real harm to students. Haven is a company that offers services that can amp up the security level of a learning institution or a place of worship. The Haven lockdown is one such security feature that gives administrators the power to control the opening and closing of doors in the school. They also include patented designs that deter intruders from accessing classes. Their school lockdown system is designed to keep away intruders from students while at the same time deterring the intruder from escaping. It features different designs that give administrator rights over doors, the presence of egress buttons, and door locks that can be opened and closed with Bluetooth connectivity. In addition, some of their doors are bulletproof in case of the live firing of ammunition. Finally, this system involves an alert system that signals local authorities in case of such an occurrence.
School shooting incidences have risen, particularly in the last five years, experiencing new record highs. These can be attributed to increased purchases of firearms. Increased levels of stress and poor storage mechanisms of firearms. There are various ways to reduce these incidences and others that can help mitigate the casualties from such occurrences. Haven Company is one company that offers lockdown solutions t schools, apartments, and religious places of worship that deter intruders, lock down the facility under attack and notifies security forces of the attack at hand.
At the time of writing this article there has been 27 school shootings in the United States in 2022, and there will no doubt be many more before the end of the year. School systems across the country are scrambling to implement safety measures that will protect students from the threat of active shooters, but taking such measures requires allocations to their budgets which just don’t exist.
There are solutions to increasing much needed school security, with funding that exists through Federal Grants that can be secured to cover the costs for active shooter door locks such as the school lockdown systems provided by the HAVEN Lockdown.
Listed below are 2 Grant Programs that can help schools obtain the funding they need to secure their schools, and lower the potential for tragic loss from active shooter incursions.
The ESSER Fund
The Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) Fund is a federal funding program that was approved by the Department of Education and is directly used to assist state education agencies (SEAs), which is then allocated to school districts, also known as local education agencies (LEAs). Although originally intended for COVID-19 aid, this fund also helps schools by investing in infrastructure, and provides emergency financial assistance for a variety of necessary projects to school districts across the country. The program is available to K-12 institutions until September 30, 2024.
The Nonprofit Security Grant Program
This grant provides funding from FEMA for the support to nonprofit organizations (such as schools) that are at high risk for active shooter incursions or terrorist threats. The purpose of this grant is to add physical security enhancement such as what HAVEN Lockdown provides with their lockdown systems that prevent an active shooter from breaching classroom doors.The intent of the Nonprofit Security Grant Program is to integrate nonprofit preparedness activities with broader state and local preparedness efforts. It is also intended to provide greater coordination / collaboration for emergency preparedness activities among public and private community representatives, as well as state and local government agencies.
Contact HAVEN to Learn More
For more information about how you can obtain federal funding or to schedule a consultation with HAVEN, please fill out the form below and we will get right back to you.
Thoughts on the “Back to School Essentials” PSA
Wednesday morning, Sandy Hook Promise launched a PSA called “Back to School Essentials” that has taken the internet by storm. The video is the latest addition to the lineup of anti-violence PSAs the group launches each year. And this one is getting lots of attention for its gut-wrenching depiction of school children using new back-to-school gear to survive an active shooter situation. Running shoes and a skateboard become escape tools; a new red jacket becomes a makeshift door lock; art scissors and colored pencils become defensive weapons for children hiding behind doors. As the excruciating video ends, a coveted new phone becomes a means to send one last “I love you mom.”
WARNING: IMAGES IN THE VIDEO MAY BE CONSIDERED DISTURBING
Sandy Hook Promise’s Educational Mission
Founded by parents of the victims of 2012’s Sandy Hook Shootings, Sandy Hook Promise aims to prevent school shootings through education. Their latest campaign—”Know the Signs”—is designed to highlight warning signs of behaviors that could lead to violence. Here at HAVEN, we whole-heartedly support the educational mission of Sandy Hook Promise, and we know that this type of work is an essential piece of a comprehensive long term strategy to combat school violence.
HAVEN Offers a Solution That Works Now
We also know that we can’t afford to wait for long term results when it comes to saving the lives of our children. Time is of the essence in this crisis, and we must complement educational campaigns and big picture strategies with boots on the ground, impactful solutions that we can implement now.
While bulletproof backpacks have become a troubling symbol of school safety concerns in our modern era, Sandy Hook Promise’s latest video keenly highlights the painful absurdity of trusting school supplies and wardrobe staples to save our kids. The imagery of the young girl securing the doors with her jacket was especially poignant for us, because we know that impenetrable barricades are one of the best ways to stop an active shooter. A cotton jacket won’t do it, but a military-grade device that can be activated in less than two seconds will.
Haven Lockdown™ Barricades Classroom Doors Against Active Intruders
Informed by co-founder Alex Bertelli’s Special Ops experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan, the design of Haven Lockdown™ has been optimized for strength, safety, and simplicity. A teacher can activate the ADA and Fire Code compliant lock with one touch, securing their classroom in seconds. Key fob, smartphone app, and mechanical activation offer multiple solutions in a time of crisis, and Lockdown Training modules provide teachers and administrators with the information they need to feel confident implementing Haven Lockdown™ as a security solution.
We’re HAVEN, and We’re Here to Help Keep Our Children Safe
HAVEN was founded by former members of the military and law enforcement. They know what real danger is and have created rock solid defense systems like HAVEN Lockdown™ to put an end to active violence in our schools, places of worship, and offices.